South Africa

Boy's death in S. African pit toilet highlights appalling school sanitation

 
A young boy has died in a South African school after falling into an open pit toilet and drowning. Unlike modern toilets, a pit latrine consists of a large pit dug below the toilet which collects human waste. In a country that paid billions to host the football World Cup four years ago, children are still going to schools that lack even basic toilets. Read more…
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Basic services in South African township “were better during apartheid”

 
Protesters have spilled onto the streets of the South African township of Bekkersdal. Police are on high alert, after violent protests erupted on Wednesday and Thursday against the municipality’s inability to deliver basic services. Read more…
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From the cozy suburbs to Johannesburg’s most feared neighbourhood

 
It was a decision that shocked many of their friends. A little over a year ago, the Branken family – white, middle class, five kids – left their six-room house in a well-off suburb to move into a three-bedroom apartment in a high-rise in Hillbrow, in downtown Johannesburg. This neighbourhood is widely considered one of the country’s most dangerous. Read more…

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Mandela's university kicks all students off campus after protest

 
Fort Hare University’s main campus, in Alice, South Africa, is eerily quiet today. That’s because the administration of this renowned college, which counts Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe as former students, has sent its entire student body home, following days of protests against sharply rising lodging fees. Read more...
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Wrong side of the tracks: Soweto township residents "left by wayside"

 
On one side of the railroad tracks in Kliptown township, in Soweto, are crowded rows of shacks, most made with corrugated iron. On the other side is Walter Sisulu Square, where apartheid opponents signed the landmark Freedom Charter back in 1955 and which now features retail stores, banks, tour operators, office space, and a four-star hotel. Read more…

S. Africa miner killings 'shocking, but apartheid comparisons exaggerated'

 
South Africans are still reeling from the news that police killed 34 striking miners on Thursday. Brutal footage of the incident, which shows police shooting dozens of live rounds at the protesters, has prompted many comparisons to apartheid-era violence. We asked several of our Observers in South Africa for their reactions. Read more...
 

The battle for basic services in South Africa’s Walmer township

 
Made up in part of makeshift homes built out of corrugated iron and wooden pallets, many in Walmer Township, located in the South African city of Port Elizabeth, live without basics such as running water. Outraged over living conditions, the township was hit by a wave of unrest earlier this week after protests calling for greater services turned violent. While an uneasy calm has since settled over the community, the township’s residents are still waiting to see if their demands will be fully met. Read more…
 
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Welcome to Woodstock, a Cape Town neighbourhood beautified by street art

 
A giant cat wrapped around a window, a multi-coloured rhinoceros, a peacock bearing the names of neighbourhood children on each of its feathers… These giant works of art and many more decorate the streets of Woodstock, just east of Cape Town. And they’ve given new life to this suburb’s rundown walls. Read more...
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Women hold ‘miniskirt march’ against sexual violence

 
Thousands of scantily clad women rallied in the streets of Johannesburg last week for a “Miniskirt March” to condemn high levels of sexual violence in South Africa. Our Observer shares her views on being a woman in South Africa and why it was important for her to participate in the march. Read more…
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